Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Linda's Crazy Crust Pizza

I can't remember where I actually got this recipe, but it's a great one for those nights when you want pizza, but don't want to deal with making a rolled-out crust. Here's the recipe for a thin crust:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk

Combine everything in the blender and beat until mixed. Then pour into a heavily greased 9x13" pan. (You could also put a tablespoon of oil in the pan, put the pan in the oven while it's preheating, then take it out and swirl to cover before adding the batter.) Top with whatever pizza toppings you want. (The original recipe called for 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce mixed with Italian seasoning and garlic powder to taste, plus 1 pound of hamburger cooked with 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped green pepper, topped with 1/2 pound grated Monterey Jack cheese. This time we used wheat/meat, pepperoni, mushrooms and mozarella cheese.)Bake for 15-20 minutes at 425°.

Cut and serve while it's hot.
We made this several weeks ago and the four of us were still hungry when it was all gone. So last week I made the "thick crust" version:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 eggs
1 cup milk
Everyone was satisfied after just one piece, meaning half of it was leftover for my lunches this week. Maybe we weren't as hungry this time around. Thick or thin, it's a pretty good, quick and easy meal.

Steak and Onions

I came across a recipe for a marinated steak and onions that I wanted to try, but when I actually went to make it, I couldn't find where I'd hidden the recipe. So, I had to find another. After reading several different recipes, I came up with the following combination:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
That was the marinade. I plopped the steak in before church, and after church (4-5 hours later - there were extra meetings) broiled it a couple of minutes on each side, after sauteéing some sliced onions in a bit of olive oil. At someone's suggestion, I threw in a can of sliced mushrooms into the onion pan, and cooked them until the liquid evaporated. Fresh mushrooms would have been delicious as well. Along with some baked potatoes and green beans, it turned out to be a yummy Sunday dinner.

Candy Bar Pie

I originally posted about this favorite family pie as part of the 2008 Thanksgiving Pie Countdown. Now it's time to move it over to this recipe blog, along with a picture of one we actually ate!

Candy Bar Pie

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
15 large or 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
½ cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Walnut Crust (could substitute graham cracker or regular if you want)
For filling, in a medium saucepan combine the 6 candy bars, marshmallows, and milk; heat and stir over medium-low heat till chocolate is melted. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Chill a large mixing bowl and beaters. In the chilled bowl beat whipping cream and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed till soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cooled chocolate mixture. Spoon chocolate mixture into Walnut Crust. Freeze about 5 hours or till firm. (Can be frozen for up to 2 months.) Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with additional whipped cream and chopped chocolate. Makes 8 servings.

Walnut Crust: In a medium mixing bowl combine 1 ½ cups coarsely ground walnuts, 3 tablespoons melted margarine or butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press nut mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in a 325° oven about 10 minutes or till edge is golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Note: Uses for stale marshmallows.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Frozen Peanut Butter Mousse Cups

I'm not sure how I came to this site to find this recipe for Frozen Peanut Butter Cups, but they sounded delicious. And since I had some cream that needed to be used up, it was the perfect thing to try. They are good and both Steven and Michelle loved them. I must admit, though, that I'd like them a lot better with some chocolate added! Frozen Peanut Butter Mousse Cups

1 cup whipping cream
1 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
In a small bowl with beater at high speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. In a large bowl, with same beaters and mixer now at low speed, beat marshmallow creme, cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Use a rubber spatula and fold whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Line mini-muffin pan cups with fluted paper or foil baking cups. Spoon the mousse into the cups. My cookie scoop was the perfect tool. See, a perfect dollop.Set uncovered pan in the freezer until they've set. Remove pans, wrap well and immediately place back in freezer. Remove from freezer a couple minutes before serving time.
The original recipe said it made 24. My batch made 33. I guess I had smaller scoops.

Mom's Oatmeal Bread

Mom's Oatmeal Bread
(the recipe she tried as a new bride that gave her the confidence to bake bread)

1 cup oatmeal
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
6 cups flour (can use 1/2 wheat)
Pour boiling water over oatmeal in a large bowl. Stir in butter, honey and salt. Allow to cool. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water and add to the oatmeal mixture. Add flour. Knead for 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let raise until double in volume. Punch down, and form into two mounds. Place into two greased 9x5" bread pans. Let rise until double. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes.
Okay, that's mom's recipe. Over the years I've changed it a touch. First of all, 9x5" loaves don't fit nicely into a bag for freezing, so I use 8x4" pans. And I increase the recipe so I make 4 loaves at a time. I've learned that adding gluten makes wheat bread lighter and I like the texture that results when adding an egg or two. Here's the recipe that I used today:

Oatmeal Bread

1 1/2 cups oatmeal
3 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons gluten
1 egg
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
5 cups wheat flour
5 cups white flour

The procedure was the same. I left it rising while I ran errands for a couple of hours. It then rose in the pans for 40 minutes. And I baked it for just under 30 minutes. Yummy!!!

Super, Duper Oatmeal Bread - We have some food storage oats that are old enough to be tasting bitter and we're trying to find ways to use them faster. (We don't believe in just throwing things out!) So, I tried increasing the ratio of oats (I ground them with the food processor into a coarse flour) to wheat flour in this recipe, to half and half. That made a pretty dense bread, so next time maybe I'll try a 3 or 4 to 1 ratio.

I also had the thought to mix old oats with new oats, and that turned out to be a brilliant idea, particularly for our morning breakfast cereal!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tortilla á la Española

Someone cooked us a yummy breakfast the other day -
another variation of a Spanish omelet. This one had ham, potatoes, mushrooms, pimentos, and green peas in it. It's cooked the same way as the others (here and here). Beat the eggs and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and pour in the egg mixture. Once it's set, use a plate to invert it and cook the other side. Then cut in half and serve.Delicious!
And I realized I didn't post about the omelet we tried before this one. That combination was eggs, onions and shrimp. Super delicious!!

Festive Taco Salad

Taco Salad is another "non-recipe" recipe, that is easily adapted to whatever ingredients you can find in your kitchen. This week we used romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, kidney beans, cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, tortilla chips, seasoned taco beef and salsa dressing.
You can find the taco seasoning recipe I use here. And as usual, I pulled some wheat/meat out of the freezer instead of taking the time to brown ground beef.
For the dressing I mixed salsa and Miracle Whip with a little milk until it looked right. Super simple. You could definitely dress it up more if you wanted, or even just use whatever salad dressing is already in your refrigerator. (Jeff would have used Ranch Dressing!) Afterwards I was reminded that sour cream goes great with taco salad, so, if I remember, next time I'll mix the salsa with sour cream.
Steven wasn't too excited about dinner, but he turned out to be pleasantly surprised and actually enjoyed his taco salad creation.

Chicken Divan Separated

A simple chicken casserole that we all enjoy is Chicken Divan. However, yesterday I didn't feel like combining everything into a casserole, so I didn't. And it still turned out very well. Basically you need chicken, broccoli, a white sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Here are the chicken breasts after they've been cooked in a little olive oil, topped with a tablespoon of white sauce (see below), sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and broiled until golden. Unfortunately, it looks liked they're topped with a slice of Mozarella cheese, so some people were VERY disappointed when they bit into it and didn't taste cheese. So, next time we'll try added some of that ingredient as well.
We served the broccoli and couscous on the side. This was an easy meal that was on the table less than 30 minutes after I finally got home from church.
Note: I made one cup of white sauce using 2 tablespoons each butter and flour, 3/4 cup chicken broth and 1/4 cup cream. Then I stirred a couple of tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, along with salt and pepper and dry mustard to taste. You could use whatever you wanted. A lot of recipes include curry powder.

A Grilling Experiment

Soda Can Chicken

"Roast Chicken" was on the menu earlier this month and since the resident barbecue chef had some time, we decided to try the "soda can" technique. We couldn't decide which flavor of soda to use, so we tried two varieties - Dr. Pepper and Sprite. Start by opening the soda can and pouring out about half the liquid. (You'll probably want to just drink it, so we don't recommend trying this on Fast Sunday like we did.) Punch a couple of additional holes in the top of the can.

The next step is to prepare the chicken by rinsing it and patting it dry and then rubbing it with a spice mixture. You could use whatever you want, but we decided on 1 tablespoon each of sugar, salt, black pepper, paprika and Everglade seasoning. That turned out to be the perfect amount for two chickens. Then plop the chicken leg-side-down on the soda can. We used some aluminum foil pie plates just to help keep the grill a bit cleaner.
Take them outside and cook them over indirect heat (that means that on our three-burner grill we lit the center flame and had a chicken on each side) in a closed barbecue for about 2 hours.
We checked them about every 20 minutes. If we were smart, we would have basted them occasionally, but I didn't think of that until just now!
Doesn't that look gorgeous?
It was really quite delicious. And although there wasn't much of a difference, the family consensus was that the Dr. Pepper-flavored chicken tasted just a little bit better.
We didn't drink the remaining soda, just poured it down the sink! (But this picture is really to show you the happy face made by punching the additional holes.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Torte

For some reason Betty Crocker sent us a 2010 calendar, and it seemed like it could be useful so we hung it in the kitchen. Because it looked delectable, Michelle decided that the April recipe - Mango Strawberry Sorbet Torte - would be perfect for dessert on Easter Sunday, so we tried it. Our Easter Torte

1 box white cake mix, prepared as directed
2 cups mango sorbet (we used peach sherbet)
2 cups strawberry sorbet (we used raspberry sherbet)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated lime peel (we used lemon peel)
2 tablespoons lime juice

Line a jelly-roll pan with waxed paper and spray with cooking spray. Pour cake batter into pan and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.

Cut cake cross-wise into 3 equal sections. Place one section on serving platter and spread softened mango sorbet evenly over the top. Place another cake section on top and spread with strawberry sorbet. Top with remaining cake section and press down. Cover lightly and freeze about 2 hours or until firm.

Beat cream with sugar, lime peel and lime juice until stiff peaks form. Frost sides and top of torte. Freeze about one hour. If desired, garnish with lime peel and strawberries just before serving. To serve, let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Cut torte in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise 7 times to make 16 slices.
I liked the addition of the citrus to the whipped cream frosting.
I got distracted while the sherbet was "softening" so it kind of seeped into the cake. So, our picture didn't look as pretty as the calendar picture.
The corner pieces were the favorite. Unfortunately, while it was good, it didn't live up to the expectations of "delectable" mainly because the cake was too heavy for the sherbet.
I think we'll give it another try someday, but use a lemon chiffon cake as the base instead. And maybe we'll try harder to find real sorbet.

Potato Pepperoni Supper

The other day I felt like trying something new for dinner, and I found something that looked like it would work on the Frugal Homekeeping blog. It did work!Potato Pepperoni Supper

1/4 cup butter or margarine
5 large potatoes (2 1/2 lb.) unpeeled, cut into 1/8" slices
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1-2 cups mozarella cheese, grated
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce, divided
1 pkg. (3 1/2 oz.) sliced pepperoni

Melt butter in skillet. Arrange potatoes and onion on bottom and slightly up side of skillet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet; over medium-low flame, cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Top with 1/2 can tomato sauce; arrange pepperoni and tomatoes over sauce. Top with cheese and remaining sauce. Cover skillet; cook until cheese is melted and tomatoes are heated through. Makes 6 servings.
Okay, so it doesn't necessarly look very pretty, but it tastes great.